Hunter Shryock has a full time job that many would envy.
His office is a 21-foot Phoenix bass boat and he works at the site of the latest Bassmaster Elite Series tournament.
The 2007 Newcomerstown High graduate ended the 2019 season on a run on the profession fishing circuit and has earned a dream spot in next year's Bassmaster Classic.
"It's worked out pretty good, especially in the last third of the year," he said. "As the year went on, I started coming into my own."
His streak started with a mid-August tournament on the St. Lawrence River in New York, where he weighed in over 58 pounds to finish 14th.
He followed that with another New York tournament, where he caught over 54 pounds and finished 13th.
A trip to Oklahoma, where he finished 10th with 32 pounds of fish, was followed by the Angler of the Year championships on Lake St. Clair, where he weighed in 62 pounds, 14 ounces to finish ninth.
"This is the most I've ever fished in one year," he explained. "Things started to go right for me and building the confidence helped."
Despite the fact that his 2019 season has ended, Shryock isn't looking at an extended vacation.
"When we were on our way home, I told my wife that this was our day off," he said. "Tomorrow, I'm starting to get ready for the Classic.
"I'm already getting ready for next year. I have to get a boat ready and get my contracts all lined up. After that, it's a matter of lining up gear and testing new equipment. There's not really an off season, this is a never-ending process. You're always learning. You never achieve a place where you know it all."
Shryock is looking for that late-season success to carry over to a the new season.
The 2020 campaign will start with a February tournament on the St. Lawrence River in Florida and follow with a tournament at Chickamauga Lake in Tennessee.
That tournament will be followed by the 50th Bassmaster Classic, which will be held on Lake Guntersville in Alabama.
"Hopefully, I can finish top 10 in the first two tournaments and finish first in the Classic," Shryock said.
Shryock started his professional competition career, not as an angler, but as a Motocross racer.
While he spent time fishing when young, Hunter didn't look at a professional career until his brother, Fletcher, qualified for the pro circuit.
Fletcher currently competes on the Major League Fishing tour.
"I talk to him every day, but we haven't been able to fish together for a long time," Hunter said. "I think it was in January."
Competing on a professional level is a taxing job. The Bassmaster Elite Series typically starts with 75 anglers who fish for two days. For the third day, the field is cut to the top 35 anglers and for the fourth day, it's down to the top 10.
"You never know what's going on when you're out there," he said of the competitions. "You don't know who else is catching fish. I'm not allowed to get information from my wife while we're fishing."
Despite the break, Shryock will be heading into the 2020 season — and the Classic — on a big-time roll.
"My confidence is up and that really makes a difference," he said. "I'm looking forward to it."
It's not difficult to follow Hunter Shryock's fishing career. Just look for him here:
on the web: huntershryock.com
on YouTube: Hunter Shryock Fishing
on Facebook: Facebook.com/huntershryockfishing/
on Twitter: @Hunter_Shryock
on Instagram: huntershryock496